CincinnatióDonald Francis, DSc, president of VaxGen, Inc., will
speak at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center about
infectious disease prevention on Thursday, May 20. Sponsored by UC's
Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP), Francis' lecture entitled
"Infectious Disease Prevention: From the Bench to the Field," will
begin at 4:00 p.m. in Room 7051 of the Medical Sciences Building and is
open to the public.
Over the last 30 years, Francis has been at
the forefront of the battle against infectious diseases. In the 1970s,
he helped the World Health Organization conquer ebola in Sudan and
eradicate smallpox in India, Bangladesh, and the former Yugoslavia. In
the 1980s, as a physician scientist for the Centers for Disease
Control, Francis' warnings to the public helped prevent further spread
of the AIDS virus. His efforts were described in a book and movie
titled And the Band Played On. Currently Francis' company, VaxGen, Inc., is conducting Phase III clinical trials on an AIDS vaccine in the US and Thailand.
PSTP is a collaboration between UC's College of Medicine and Children's
Hospital Medical Center and is aimed at students interested in
obtaining both the MD and PhD degrees. The eight-year program is a mix
of medical and basic science courses, biomedical science research, and
hands-on clinical education. Upon completion, these
physician-scientists conduct translational research that they can take
from their labs to their patients. "Our goal is to train physicians who
are both excellent scientists and compassionate physicians," says Judy
Harmony, PhD, director of PSTP.
Currently the program is raising
funds for its endowment. The program hopes to bring its endowment from
$3 million to $10 million. The funds will help supplement students'
education expenses, which are about $186,000. The support will enable
students to focus on their clinical and research future.